Report on Good Governance and Accountability

Governance includes accountability as it comprises the arrangements put in place to ensure that the intended outcomes for stakeholders are defined and achieved. ‘Acting in public interest’ requires behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, respecting the rule of law, ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement [1].
Good Governance has five basic pillars [2]: (i) Technical and managerial competence; (ii) Organizational capacity; (3) Reliability, predictability & the rule of law; (4) Accountability, transparency and open information systems; and (5) Participation
Key attributes of good governance as clarified by the work of the UN Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 2000/6 [3]are Governance, Transparency, Responsibility, Accountability, Participation and Responsiveness to the needs of the people. Good decision-making processes, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. [4]
The following measures broadly outline essentials of Good Governance, measures taken at the Provincial level and particular measures taken at the Departmental level in the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
Pillar 1: Behaving with integrity:
At Provincial level: A separate Ehtesab Commission has been established to process accountability cases. A Conflict of Interest law has been introduced in the Provincial Assembly alongwith a whistleblowers protection legislation which provides both protection and incentives. The Directorate of Anti-Corruption has been revitalized. Chief Secretary personally advocates and exemplifies behaving with integrity in every Secretaries Committee meeting.
At Information Department level:
(i)            A Steering Committee has been constituted to process and select Advertising Agencies out of the Registered ones for launching campaigns in media. For this purpose the brief of every Department is provided to ALL registered Advertising Agencies who then make a creative presentation to the Steering Committee. The Committee comprises two provincial Ministers, 4-Provincial Secretaries and other Members;
(ii)          The Advertisements granted per month to various Newspapers or Advertising Agencies, alongwith their area in centimeters and cost in PKR are uploaded under ‘Proactive Disclosures’ on Information Department website and are available for anyone & everyone to examine.
(iii)         A proposal has been gotten approved which regulates the grants in aid being given to press clubs. It sets in place 4-Categories of Districts and the exact amount for all. It also envisages quarterly release of such amounts but only after the audit report of the previous quarter is deposited to the satisfaction of Information & Finance Departments.
Pillar 2: Strong commitment to ethical values:
At Provincial Level: KP Public Procurement Regulatory Authority has been established under law and is working with advisory & cognizance jurisdiction on all procurement of works, goods & services. A Complaint Redressal System is working in Chief Minister’s Secretariat and a software based District Administration mechanism has been activated at Chief Secretary’s office. Revenue Department culture is being transformed through an exclusive complaint redressal mechanism.
At Information Department level:
 A citizens’ portal has been established in the Automated Information Research System (ITLA’A) and login can be created from the web site under the heading “Citizen’s Corner”. Citizens can upload text, pictures and short videos. In case this includes a grievance or complaint, they receive back a response.
(ii)          Our Radio Pakhtunkhwa FM 92.2 Peshawar & FM 92.6 Mardan regularly air programs eulogizing basic ethical values and advocating adherence to them.
(iii)         The latest endeavour of web tv ( regularly runs programs & dramas on ethical values.
Pillar 3: Respecting the law:
At Provincial level: The Right to Services Law grants rights to citizens to get over 30 services in a specific time. It also provides for cognizance of grievance through a Commission, Mobile Civil Courts legislation has been introduced in Provincial Assembly. The Public Private Partnership Act 2014 ensures transparent partnerships. Computerization of land record is in hand. Vigorous across the board and even handed anti-encroachment campaign has been carried out proving that law is for everyone.
At Information Department level:
(i)            For the first time the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee on newspapers has been held, that too twice in the calendar year. After due scrutiny declarations of 157 newspapers which data proved were not being published have been recommended for cancellation;
(ii)          Committee also examined circulation figures and ancillary matter connected with the 100 newspapers in media list. After due scrutiny, 31 out of them were deleted from media list and 33 out of them were placed on notice to improve within 6 months;
(iii)         Case for establishment of Registrar Branch has been processed. The Branch will carry out fresh Audit Bureau Of Circulation (ABC) of all newspapers to come up with exact figures of circulation. This will lead to re-setting of rates of advertisements to the actual circulation and saving millions for the government in this head beside action against newspapers with exaggerated figures of circulation.
Pillar 4: Ensuring Openness
At Provincial Level: The KP Right to Information law has been declared the best in Pakistan and the RTI Commission is ensuring information requested by citizens is provided complete and within time.
At Information Department Level:
(i)            Under the heading “Proactive Disclosure” on web page administrative & financial powers of officers of Department have been explicitly given. Furthermore the pay & perks of Secretary & Director Information are also placed there;
(ii)          Similarly, as explained earlier, all payments made to newspapers & advertising agencies in lieu of Ads are placed in shape of monthly statements;
(iii)         The Public Information Officers have been declared and their contact numbers and email addresses shared – we respond on requests through emails too to save time of citizens and also resources of government on Photostat and stationery due to written responses.
(iv)         The detailed budget, both permanent and developmental, is also placed on web alongwith the expenditure. Procedure for processing of cases alongwith competent authorities is also there.
(v)          All Acts, Laws, Rules etc have been placed on web-page alongwith details of all concessions granted under the Journalists Welfare Endowment Fund.
Pillar 5: Comprehensive Stakeholder engagement
At Provincial Level: Grass-root engagement with the largest and most important stake-holder, i.e. citizens, has been initiated through the local governments established through elections and with the neighbourhood and village councils as the fundamental tier.
At Information Department level:
(i)            Based on the aim of “Technology is our New Ideology”, the Department has initiated a 2-way proactive communication with the citizens under the ITLA’A mechanism;
(ii)          The ITLA’A is based on input from independent sources of (a) Print, Electronic & Social Media (b) Citizens through Citizens’ Portal (c) Independent Reporters including interns from Department of Journalism, University of Peshawar (d) Government Departments and regional offices in Divisions and Districts.
(iii)         The information is processed on software and communicated through dashboards to Chief Minister, Ministers, Chief Secretary & Secretaries requesting a response, which is then shared back to all the sources.
(iv)         Similarly through “Minister Online” and other programs of Radio Pakhtunkhwa FM 92.2 Peshawar & FM 92.6 Mardan, views and grievances of all stakeholders are addressed as well as government’s advocacy initiatives reach the citizens and citizens’ engagement.
(v)          Interviews of Cabinet Members are being recorded for based on questions and feedback received from citizens. These will be aired after prior announcement.

[1] International Framework: Good Governance In The Public Sector (International Federation of Accountants)